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Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Thunder

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Warning: this game is going to be very, very weird. The Pelicans have the bulk of their regular rotation on the sideline wearing suits and Monty can only use a handful of players that have little experience playing together. By contrast, the Thunder are in fine-tuning mode, preparing for another playoff run. It's not a good combination.

Presuming Roberts and Evans are both unavailable (listed as "doubtful" and "questionable", respectively), here's who Monty has available when he looks at his depleted corps:

Alexis Ajinca
Al-Farouq Aminu
Luke Babbitt
Darius Miller
Anthony Morrow
Austin Rivers
James Southerland
Jeff Withey
Maybe Melvin Ely? Who knows, really.

Sending this ragtag bunch against the Thunder is absurd, almost tragic. It reminds me of Charge of the Light Brigade, honestly. Durant to the right of them, Westbrook to the left of them, Ibaka behind them, these depleted Pelicans don't stand a chance.


Even worse, this game doesn't even mean anything - the Pelicans are long eliminated from the playoffs, they don't own their first-round draft pick next year, and it's tough to imagine that many of the players left on this roster will even be playing in New Orleans next year. Some, like Anthony Morrow, are sure to be carted away somewhere else. Some, like James Southerland and Melvin Ely, are unlikely to be playing for any NBA franchise next season.


So why will I be watching at 7pm CT on FSNO? For one, out of morbid curiosity - there's a certain train-wreck appeal to the Pelicans right now. For another, though, it's to see this ragtag bunch and see who can emerge as a hero. Remember, Darius Miller was long-forgotten on the bench until Monty had no point guards other than Tyreke Evans against the Clippers. Improbably, Darius Miller, who I can't imagine has brought the ball up consistently since before his days at Kentucky, became a viable point man for the Pelicans. These odd times are when you can see players do things that you wouldn't normally see them do - and that's worth watching, I'd say.